Aleix: Pol ‘very lucky, a rider cannot hit the wall like this’

Pol Espargaro may have suffered extensive injuries during his Friday practice accident at the Portimao MotoGP, but brother Aleix believes he was ‘very lucky’ it wasn’t worse.
Pol Espargaro crash, Portuguese MotoGP. 24 March
Pol Espargaro crash, Portuguese MotoGP. 24 March

After falling from his GASGAS machine, due to a cold rear tyre, Pol bounced through the turn 10 gravel trap and into an unprotected barrier.

The impact left the Spaniard with fractures to his jaw and dorsal vertebra as well as lung trauma.

Speaking on the eve of round two in Argentina this weekend, AIeix explained: “Pol is getting better. He obviously had a big crash. I went to talk a lot with the doctors, talk a lot with him during these [last] days.

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“My point of view is he is very lucky, very lucky. Because you can't imagine the impact that he had on his head. Even with one of the best helmets of the paddock, you cannot imagine how his head was. So he was very lucky, because the gravel was not good at all.”

The Aprilia star was referring to years of complaints over the (large) size and rough shape of the stones used for the Portimao gravel traps, which riders believe don’t soak up energy as efficiently as smaller stones in an accident.

The composition of the gravel traps, modified with some smaller stones for the race weekend, was also cited by Fabio di Giannantonio for causing his concussion in pre-season testing.

“After four years pushing for the gravel [traps to be changed] something finally happened, and also there wasn't an air fence. So at the end of the day we've been lucky, and Pol hopefully will be back soon racing with us after a big crash.”

'A rider cannot hit the wall like this, it's unacceptable'

An air fence, which unlike changes to the gravel traps had not been requested prior to Espargaro’s fall, was promptly added to the scene of the accident the following morning.

But Aleix now hopes the gravel traps will be completely renovated.

“The speed that [Pol] gained when he went into the gravel, and the impact that he did, it was insane," said the #41.

“He has a full mandibular [jaw bone] fracture, from the mouth to the ear. He cannot even hear anything, because the mandibular is pushing the ear. So it's amazing the impact he had.

“So this is unacceptable. A rider cannot hit the wall like this, it's unacceptable, totally. So I believe that we can learn from this.”

While Pol continues his recovery in Barcelona, Aleix is returning to the scene of his debut MotoGP victory at Termas de Rio Hondo one year ago.

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